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Former Blackwater guards to get lengthy prison sentences for Iraq shootings

Former Blackwater guards to get lengthy prison sentences for Iraq shootings

WASHINGTON — A federal judge sentenced former Blackwater security guard Nicholas Slatten to life in prison and three others to 30-year terms for their roles in a 2007 shooting that killed 14 Iraqi civilians and wounded 17 others.

The carnage in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square caused an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth sentenced Slatten, who witnesses said was the first to fire shots in the incident, to life on a charge of first-degree murder. The three other guards — Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard — were each sentenced to 30 years and one day in prison for charges that included manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and using firearms while committing a felony.

Lamberth announced the sentences after a daylong hearing at which defense lawyers had argued for leniency and presented character witnesses for their clients, and prosecutors asked that those sentences — the minimums mandatory under the law — be made even harsher. He rejected both requests.

“Based on the seriousness of the crimes, I find the penalty is not excessive,” Lamberth said.

Read More:Former Blackwater guards to get lengthy prison sentences for Iraq shootings.

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